STaRR Training

Program Overview

With support from the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services, Western Alliance are delighted to have commenced our centrepiece research capability building program, known as the STaRR (Supporting Translation of Research in Rural and Regional areas) Program.

The STaRR Program was informed by a comprehensive scoping exercise, which included a systematic scoping review of the research education literature and the Victorian Rural/Regional Research Training Needs Project.

The STaRR Program builds on the support from our Research Translation Coordinator positions and includes a range of translation-focussed research training activities and resources, as well as support for organisation research planning.

STaRR training supports three key groups:

  • Research mentors
  • Health organisation managers and leaders
  • Emerging health practitioner researchers in health organisations across our region

STaRR Mentors – Expressions of Interest are now open for 2022 

A key component of the STaRR training program is to link participants (emerging practitioner researchers), with an experienced mentor who can assist them to develop their proposal.

The Mentor Role

Mentors will support new and emerging practitioner researchers through the training program by:

  • Providing feedback to their mentee/s
  • Sharing expertise and experiences
  • Suggesting solutions to problems/challenges
  • Linking the mentees with other researchers and networks
  • Supporting their mentee/s to develop research skills and confidence

Mentors are not expected to undertake work for the mentees, monitor a mentee’s progress or be on call/meet with mentees without reasonable notice.

Benefits for the mentor

Mentors will participate in specialised research translation training, fully funded by Western Alliance, prior to supporting their matched mentee/s. Mentors can also be matched with an experience academic researcher who can support them through the process as needed. Mentoring, a two-way relationship involving the transfer of knowledge and expertise, can provide many other benefits for mentors who are willing to invest their time in developing another professional. These benefits include:

  • The personal satisfaction of sharing your skills and experience with a willing learner
  • Extension of professional development record
  • Opportunity to reflect on own goals and practices
  • Opportunity to participate in research as a co-investigator
  • Opportunity to be included on a Western Alliance Emerging Research Grant application

Who can be a mentor?

A mentor has experience in designing and implementing research studies/quality improvement projects or experience developing and evaluating healthcare projects and programs.

Expectations of the mentor

  • Mentor research translation training: Attend a research translation training workshop.
  • Mentor support: Have contact with your mentee a minimum of four times during the two-month training program to discuss the mentee’s project and provide guidance and feedback.
  • We anticipate that mentors will provide verbal and written feedback as needed and may provide some ongoing support beyond the training.

Interested in becoming a STaRR Mentor?

  • For more information or to be connected with a past STaRR mentor to hear about their experience and what you can expect, please contact Olivia King at olivia.king@barwonhealth.org.au
  • To download the STaRR Mentor Program Fact Sheet, please click here.
  • To register your Expression of Interest as a STaRR Mentor, please click here.
  • Submit your Expression of Interest by Friday 15 July 2022

2021 Overview and Next Steps

The inaugural STaRR (Supporting Translation of Research in Rural and Regional areas) training program concluded in November 2022. The first year of the STaRR program saw an impressive 114 participants, including 27 mentors, 32 managers and 55 emerging researchers, complete the training. Congratulations to all!

For our 55 STaRR emerging researchers, the real work has begun. Many are progressing and finalising their research protocols with the expert support and guidance of their STaRR-trained mentor. Some have even commenced their data collection!

We have received some useful feedback from training participants, which, combined with the findings of part of our formal evaluation, has given us a good sense of where the STaRR training program needs to head in future.

The pre- and post-training survey findings show that the program has led to improved research and research translation skills for many participants. As this testimonial highlights, the training proved to be valuable and worthwhile:

“Thank you for a fantastic program- very informative and the knowledge of speakers involved was next to none. Very worthwhile 2 days!”

Naturally, we are delighted to learn that the training met the needs of some participants and led to improved research and translation skills. We are also very encouraged to enhance the program further in response to feedback captured both informally and through the evaluation surveys.

Specifically, we recognise that we could do more to meet the training needs of emerging researchers with different baseline research skills and experience, and different goals. We are working behind the scenes to enhance the program so it can better support research and translation skill development in managers and leaders, who are critical to the success of any research or translation endeavour. We are also considering several other improvements to the STaRR program.

Subscribe to our Talking Points newsletter and be sure to watch this space for upcoming training dates, new resources, and other opportunities. 


STaRR Snapshot